To print their special #HIVHeroes issue Austrian publication Vangardist used ink mixed with the blood of three HIV-positive people.
Julian Wiehl, CEO and editor of Vangardist, has had to put people’s minds at ease, stressing that the combination of ink mixed with HIV-positive blood is not dangerous at all. Despite the fact that the HIV virus does not survive for more than 30 minutes outside the human body, the magazine took the extra measure of getting the blood sterilised at a hospital before it was used for the printing process.
The fact that some people may believe that the magazine exposes them to the virus is all the indication Wiehl needs that this was a step that had to be taken.
“The point is that we want to make a statement against the stigma surrounding HIV and irrational fears against people carrying the virus,” he told the BBC.
“Would you hold this magazine in your hands? Confront yourself with the virus and your fears?” Wiehl asked. “When you next meet someone who has HIV, your reaction will be different — you can hold this person and hug this person.”
The progressive men’s magazine is hoping that the May #HIVHeroes edition will challenge the taboos that still surround HIV and help to end the stigma for those living with the virus.
It’s the right time to do this as media attention is already on Vienna this month. The 2015 Life Ball, one of the biggest HIV/AIDS charity events in the world, will be held in Vienna City Hall on May 16 and the Eurovision Song Contest takes place in the city’s Wiener Stadthalle on May 23.
To purchase a copy of the magazine visit www.vangardist.com.